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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Fuel strikes in the UK?

Delivery drivers who are members of the UNITE trade union are threatening to go on strike over pay and conditions. If this happens it will disrupt supplies of fuel to many garages around the UK and cause widespread chaos and misery for people who need to drive for work and everyone else. Already people are panic buying causing shortages in many places.

Now, I have no issues with people using peaceful means of protest to get a fair deal on pay and conditions. However, as I understand it, these drivers have a fairly easy life driving fuel tankers around the country and earn around £45k average a year, a salary that many in work would be very happy with.  Many without jobs would happily take over the work.

So, I really hope that everyone in the UK (government, people) resists the pressure to cave in on this issue: these drivers do NOT need the money and are just trying to use their powerful bargaining position to win the day. The same applies to London tube train drivers who also earn collossal amounts (luckily new underground trains are being made driverless soon).

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Where ancestors walked

Starehole Bay near Salcombe, Devon
Today my wife and I walked to Bolt Head in South Devon, not far from Salcombe. The weather was perfect with bright sunshine and a not too cold wind with temperature about 11 deg C.  My ancestors back to at least 1428 lived and worked just a few miles from here.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt

Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt

Sometimes you read a book and know it will make a deep and lasting impact on you. This will be one of them.

We all wrestle with trying to understand why we are here and whether or not there is purpose and meaning in our lives. Some are able to accept a religious faith and find it satisfies a spiritual quest for meaning, whereas others never rest easy in that bed, like me.

Richard Holloway's book walks us through his many years in high church office (finally as Bishop of Edinburgh and Primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church) to an eventual resting place where religion is cast aside and an honest acceptance of man's plight reached, although he remains agnostic about God and life after death. Here we see a deeply religious man even when religion is cast aside. There IS depth in humanity and an enduring mystery, but religion is not the answer.

I was moved to tears in the epilogue: this was his life laid bare, a struggle shared with us in the book, and all the more wonderful for it.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Dropbox registry issue - any fixes?

Anyone here know how to PROPERLY fix a Dropbox error with message "unable to access vital account information" Windows registry error?

I have tried ver 1.1.45.exe and that worked for 10 minutes OK then the message reappeared. Uploaded 1.2.45.exe and that was worse. The Dropbox forums are full of people with the same issue. In the past 3 months I've deleted registry data, uninstalled and reinstalled umpteen versions and STILL it doesn't want to work on this WinXP SP2 PC.

Plastic boxes, containers and takeaway shops

Here in Cambridgeshire, some areas collect plastic waste of all kinds at the doorstep and recycle it. Not in Burwell! All we can do is recycle plastic bottles in the village (not from home) and take hard plastics and plastic boxes, such as those supermarket food packages, 20+ miles there and back to our main recycling centre near Cambridge. I actually WANT to do my bit and help the environment but I am not helped by being excluded from a doorstep plastics recycling service - this stopped about 2 years ago, can you believe it?

Another issue: why do supermarkets like Waitrose and Tesco insist in packaging vegetables and fruit in plastic boxes at all? Why not always loose pack or pack in biodegradable packs? Also, why do there have to be so many shapes and sizes? Why not standard size containers that can be stacked in a bin to save space?

Recycling is STILL a total mess in the UK and needs seriously sorting by our governments. All seem to be as incompetent as eachother.

Finally in my rant today, most rubbish at roadsides is from takeaway food places: food containers, plastic drinking cups and metal drinks cans. Just take a look. Why not get fast food outlets like MacDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken to pay to pick up their ignorant customers' messes? They'd soon get the message that too much packaging costs them profits.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Encyclopaedia Britannica ends printed version

After 244 years, Encyclopaedia Britannica is stopping publication of its paper versions. See . This is not surprising in the age of Wikipedia and so many online resources, but it was a wonderful resource in its long as you had strong shelves!

Blackcaps here

This morning we had a blackcap on our bird table. This is a largely migratory bird and I suspect this one had just arrived in from further south in Europe or Africa and was hungry.  It's the first time I recall one actually eating from the bird table. Summer bird visitors are starting to arrive now with the first barn swallows likely to be seen in southern England in the next few weeks. It is around mid April before they appear in any numbers in East Anglia. When the swifts arrive and scream through the evening sky you know summer is really here but that is a couple of months away.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Gay Marriage and the RC church

As a heterosexual male, happily married for over 40 years, I may not be best placed to give a view on gay marriage laws. However, I am absolutely incensed when I hear the Roman Catholic church pontificating about how wrong it is for two people in love to make a public commitment of their love by marriage. What right have they to be so "high and mighty" when their record on sexual morality (child sex abuse, priests who are celibate and know little of sex and its value in a loving relationship, etc)  is, frankly appalling!